Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hectic Week, Finally Over!

Co-located conferences make for a hectic week!  Again, my thanks to the Microsoft local arrangement team (especially Paul Oka) for setting up STOC, which I thought went very well.  (The space worked out very nice -- even with about 75 more registrants than we were expecting!)  Big thanks also to Salil Vadhan and the other local organizers of CCC -- I wandered through their setup multiple times on the way to my office and it looked great -- and to David Parkes, Yiling Chen, and Jennifer Wortman Vaughan for the local organization of EC -- I really like that 52 Oxford lower level as a conference space, especially the red couches and the quiet-back-entrance lecture room.  

I maintain that Cambridge/Boston is a great place to hold co-located conferences like this, and we should try to do the same thing again (perhaps with a different conference mix) in just a few years.  We have lots of researchers in the area, lots of students (to attend and help set things up), and lots of universities that can help host in terms of lecture space.  And a very viable airport to travel to.  If you look at the list above, though, I do think Harvard really did much more than its fair share this time.  Maybe next time around one of our smaller, less-resourced, less visible neighbors, like MIT, can step up to the plate.  


Anonymous said...

EC and STOC were co-located and yet not. Having them in buildings 3 miles apart was a very bad idea.

Michael Mitzenmacher said...

Anon #1: Thanks so much for volunteering for local arrangements for the next group of conferences. I didn't catch your name again?

Anonymous said...

MIT rox!!

Anonymous said...

Michael: Anon #1 is right; maybe for locals (like you) there is no difference (in the location) between MIT and Harvard, but for the visitors they are in some distance. Hence, it would be easier for visitors to have the conferences much closer. How could one attend STOC and some EC tutorials, if the travel between the two places requires 15 mins in the cab (which also costs some bucks, or over half an hour walk).

I have no doubt that Cambridge is a nicer place than San Jose, but FCRC has a more user freiendly format in that respect. If all the conferences are in the same building, or one block from each other, then it would be easier to attend even the clashing events.

But please dont take this as a critisism but rather as a friendly advice. The organizers of the three events did great job and I hope Cambridge will be hosting similar events in near future again.

Michael Mitzenmacher said...

Anon #4 (and #1): I think somehow you have (and perhaps are perpetuating) a mistaken impression that somehow the 3 conferences all organized this together ahead of time. From what I know, that's not the case. I don't know the timeline -- my guess if STOC was figured first, and then CCC and EC figured it would be nice to run the same week in the same city. This is very different that FCRC, and hence I think your apparent expectation -- that the conferences would be at the same location -- is misguided. (In fact, I find it downright bizarre.)

Let's not confuse this with FCRC, which is organized from the start to be a huge collection of conferences. This was, as far as I know, independent organizations that happened to try to put things together conveniently. I think, with that in mind, they did an amazing job.

Now, given their success, I think it would be nice if, in the future, we try to plan these things together more closely to begin with. But that takes a level of organization that, from what I know, up to this point the theory community has completely lacked.

Paul Beame said...

Both the energy of attracting a larger audience and the convenience of saving on airfare makes co-location a big win. I fail to see the difficulty of changing hotels on Tuesday night or finding a single convenient hotel between the two locations.